Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Eco-Chic: Wear Recycled Clothing

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If you are in your 20’s, 30’s or an oh-so-hip-middle-ager, you may already be into wearing recycled clothing. I’ve been resistant due to growing up as 4th of 5 children and having my wardrobe consist of hand-me-downs, most of which were far from the latest styles. Also, something about the smell of thrift shops….what is that smell? Somehow, dishes are easy to buy but the clothes — let’s just say I’m getting there.

I finally decided the time had come for me to check it out. I enlisted daughter Krista, niece Laura and friend Kristen to show me how it’s done. We set out for the University District. Our first stop was Crossroads Trading Co. , just south of the University Bookstore. It is not overwhelmingly big and to my delight, items are arranged by color and style. I was not planning to buy anything since I couldn’t help but notice that I was the oldest customer in the store. When they started scouring the racks, I took a look myself. Surprisingly, I found a black cotton sweater I haven’t taken off since I bought it and a Calvin Klein linen tank top that I wore to a Saturday night BBQ.

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Next we headed up the street to Buffalo Exchange. Their website states, “The E.P.A. estimates 11.8 millions tons of textiles were generated in 2006, or 5% of total U.S. municipal solid waste. Almost half of the 2.5 billion pounds of postconsumer textile waste prevented from entering the solid waste stream is recycled clothing”. If you don’t use a bag for your purchase, they give you a token to drop into one of 3 boxes designated for various nonprofit groups, including Northwest Harvest. Buffalo Exchange is bigger than Crossroads and has more of a “sustainablity feel” with the awareness that by wearing recycled clothing, you are helping to protect our environment.

No shopping trip would be complete for me without stopping at Kidz on 45th in Wallingford to look for a few things for the totally eco-chic Lily.

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Kid’s recycled clothes are easy to find and make sense since they grow so quickly. In my mind, Kidz on 45th has the best selection and the best prices, which isn’t surprising since they have almost 20 years of experience in the same location. Small Clothes on California in West Seattle also has some great finds. If it were closer, I’d go more often. I’m certain Lily wouldn’t mind.

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4 Responses »

  1. What a great idea!!! Recycling touches every area of our lives. We all are responsible for taking care of Mother Earth!

  2. Hear hear! I am a long-time shopper of both of those stores (in CA, OR and now WA). I have practically sworn off new clothing (jeans sometimes bear exception, since it’s hard enough to find jeans that fit when you have a pair in every size in half a dozen styles, let alone 300 styles but only a few in your size, most of which are in a style you aren’t interested in. oy.) I often leave Buffalo Exchange empty handed — they’re a little to “latest trend” for me, I just like simple clothes that fit, and Crossroads has always had something for me. It’s interesting, that even though these stores are 95% dependent on the clothes their customers bring in for sale/trade, they still seem to have different feels.

  3. I like your idea. Buying at second hand stores reduces the impact we have on the environment. I also check out garage sales for clothes. 🙂

  4. Tammy, maybe it’s a seasonal/fall thing for them. Not sure. I see, for example, that right now (May) they have lightly fried asparagus spears which probably is only on the menu for a few weeks.